F-One brings with the new Shadow a thoroughbred, highly agile specialist for small to big waves.
Why does F-One add another board to the Directional Range when there is already an all-rounder like the Mitu available in various designs? The answer from F-One boss Raphael Salles is simple: The Shadow is about 100 percent wave performance and nothing else. This board should give you the most authentic surfboard feeling possible - in almost all wave conditions.
F-One manufactures its Surfboard Shadow in HD Foam Flex composite construction. This special foam composite is designed to improve the balance of flex and stability. At the same time, it is intended to reduce weight and provide a similar feel to classic glass PU constructions. Shock absorbers made of EVA are laminated under the pad in the area of the front foot. This is intended to provide better cushioning on the one hand, but on the other hand to increase durability, as the absorbers reduce the formation of dents. The overall shape is fully wave-compatible. 21 liters of volume on the 5'6 are comparatively small and do not exactly scream for heavy riders. The 5'4 even manages with a slim 19.5 liters. F-One receives applause once again for the usual good, fully glued pads, which provide a nice mixture of hold, cushioning and comfort when strapless kiting and offer extra support for the front foot due to the small curvature.
The low volume is immediately noticeable when planing, because the Shadow requires pressure to start gliding. The reduced lift is clearly noticeable. Even if you're chugging around in stall speed before the line-up and waiting for a suitable wave, you have to be careful as a middle to heavyweight to avoid the board to gargle. While riding the board lies a bit deeper and very full in the water. However, the French wave machine requires an experienced pilot, because it reacts very directly. In this group, the Shadow is the most reactive board, but at the same time the most demanding to ride. Intermediates find this nervous. It also reacts directly to load errors. If you stand correctly and distribute your weight cleanly, the Shadow moves forward quickly. Its speed potential is enormous with the right guidance! But it likes clean, fast waves better than choppy water, because on rough tracks it offers less smoothness despite its distinctive flex and good damping. Then you also feel the lower tilting stability compared to the more well tuned allrounders.
Changing feet, turning and jibing are easy and effortless, but you want to do it cleanly. Its strengths lie undeniably in wave handling. It can be used to circle super tight turns to the point, so that you can steer it and press it into your lip in a split second, even in chaotic waves. Hardly any other board is more agile and direct. But you have to be careful not to overdraw the tail. The edge is relatively bitingly tuned. Big, clean and above all powerful waves lie in the shadow. Here it can show its speed potential and the good carving characteristics. But even here the hyperreactive tuning is not everybody's cup of tea. In our test team the judgments for the wave performance varied from outstanding to nervous. Especially for heavy riders over 80 kilograms the board seems a bit too small.
A thoroughbred, highly reactive wave specialist with little volume for light to medium riders: The Shadow demands riding skills, but gives a lot back in the wave. It might be too nervous for wave beginners.